Picking a color scheme for your website is one of the most important — and difficult — decisions when designing a site. You want it to align with your brand identity, draw attention to the most important elements on your site, and make visitors feel a certain way.
A black and white color scheme is a popular choice in web design. It can make typography, images, and other visual elements stand out. It can simplify user choices. It can showcase projects or products in a bold, innovative way. It can make your site look sleek and professional — and a whole lot more.
Now that we’ve covered the possible effects and benefits of a black and white website design, let’s look at some specific examples of websites using this color scheme. Each example will include a pro tip, or takeaway, that you can apply to your own website design.
Lionel Taurus’s portfolio website is a fantastic, slightly mind-bending example of an interactive website. His “About” page exemplifies how bold but simple a black and white design can be. It’s also a smart choice since his layout is so unconventional. If paired with an unconventional color scheme, then it might be too difficult to read — but it’s easy to follow along with this timeless color combination.
Pro tip: A black and white design can complement a unique grid layout, making it seem bolder but still easy to read.
Hudson Gavin Martin has a unique grid homepage that looks clean thanks to its minimal text and black and white design. When a visitor hovers over some of the grids however, they change background color. In the screenshot above, you can see the grid section labelled “Tech” changes to a bright red background color when hovered over. This makes it easier for users to know where they are on the page and to navigate to different parts of the site.
Pro tip: Using hover animationsso that the black and white elements on your website change colors can help enhance your site’s navigability and interactivity.
Golden Suisse is a Private Swiss Bullion Nonbank with a mission to “provide unmatched wealth protection and privacy” for their clients. That’s why the black background and white text on its website works so well: it conjures up ideas of privacy and exclusivity.
While the black background color and white text color combination can be difficult to read if there’s too much text, that’s not a problem on Golden Suisse’s website. On the homepage, there’s less than 100 words with plenty of negative space in between.
Pro tip: Using minimalist white text against a black background can create a perception of security and confidentiality.
Although not technically a black and white website, Melanie DaVeid’s portfolio site primarily uses a black and white color scheme with pops of bright red. These pops of colors are mostly used to draw attention to important elements on the page, like navigation links and her email address.
Pro tip: Make important elements, like navigation links, pop with a bright color that starkly contrasts against the black and white.
As a post production studio focused on colour grading for mainly advertisements, music videos and film, KeepGrading makes sure its portfolio items catch and keep the visitor’s attention. These items — which include video thumbnails, GIFs, and image galleries — are the only sources of color against stark white and black backgrounds.
Pro tip: A black and white design ensures your multimedia content will be the focal point.
I’m guessing few readers are familiar with the concept of AI voice actors — Replica Studios understands that and has designed their website to present the topic as well as their company in the clearest, most informative way possible. They offer succinct explanations, video tutorials, demos, and more so readers can learn and try their products. They also make use of a black and white color scheme in order to present their products as innovative without overwhelming visitors with information or color.
Pro tip: Tech companies or other companies in similarly innovative business niches can use a black and white website design to showcase their products or services in a clear, bold way.
Henri Heymans’s portfolio website is designed to take users on a “journey.” This journey involves horizontal and vertical scrolling as well as lots of animations and pops of neon green. With another color scheme, the reader might get overwhelmed. But the black and white color scheme paired with negative space and little text keeps the focus on the experience.
Pro tip: If you have a complex scrolling pattern, keep the rest of your content simple with a black and white design.
Duft & Co Bakehouse is known for its artisanal pastries, lunch, and coffee. So its website features large, high-quality images of those three items against a stark white background, with big and bold typography. The result is a mouth-watering, minimalist website that can serve as inspiration for any bakery website.
Pro tip: Keep the focus on your images with bold black typography against a white background.
Poklonnaya 9 is an “ultra-contemporary” apartment complex in Moscow. Like the complex’s interior, its website is designed to be classic but futuristic, timeless but unique, elegant but eclectic — and these are just a few of the adjectives used on the site. Combining black, white, and neon orange, its color scheme is the perfect antithesis of the traditional black and white look.
Pro tip: Taking a twist on the standard black and white design by mixing in an unconventional color, like bright orange, can make your brand seem contemporary but still elegant.
Pienso was created to democratize machine learning and make it accessible. That means some website visitors might have little expertise or knowledge about the topic. Pienso’s website is carefully designed for those visitors.
Its black and white website design helps draw attention to the clear value proposition at the top of the page and to the handful of actions that users can take: they can click the “Let’s demo” CTA button, open the hamburger menu, or scroll down (as indicated by the arrow). Throughout the site, the design helps present clear user options and prevent information overload.
Pro tip: A black and white website design can help users digest your content, navigate your website, and understand their options more easily.
The “No Color” Website Design
Using a black and white color scheme might seem boring or easy — but the website design examples above prove that it’s a timeless combination that can make images and other visual elements pop, present information in a way that’s easy to read and understand, and inspire users to take action.
Originally published Feb 3, 2022 7:00:00 AM, updated April 19 2022